News Releases

This morning we were briefed on the Commission's findings, and I'm convinced that they did an outstanding job taking on this difficult task. Washington state can be especially proud of the service Senator Slade Gorton provided as a member of the commission.

It is clear that the great failure we suffered before 9/11 was the inability of our intelligence services to connect the dots we found before the attacks. It now seems reasonable and appropriate to create and invest in enhanced intelligence sharing capabilities.

Before 9/11, few could fathom, even in the face of troubling intelligence, that enemies of America could strike our homeland with such devastating force. Now we know. And armed with that knowledge, and the knowledge that our enemies continue to work against us around the world, we must take seriously every threat to America.

I hope that the immediate impact of this important report is a greater understanding of the threats we face, the failures we endured, and the need to move forward in our ongoing effort to keep the homeland secure.

This report was created in the spirit of unity. As stewards of the nation's defense and well-being, the Congress should build upon this spirit of unity as we seek to confront the threats facing our nation. I look forward to reading the full report and participating in a thorough review and debate of the Commission's recommendations.

In addition, at a press conference today, Senator Murray joined Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and others to urge the Senate Republican leadership to, in this same spirit of unity, expedite passage of legislation to protect our homeland, including the Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

Senator Murray's remarks follow:

Today, with the release of the 9/11 Commission's report, we got more evidence that America still has a lot of work to do to protect our homeland. The report comes on top of recent warnings about dangers here at home. Two weeks ago, Secretary Ridge warned us that terrorists plan to disrupt the upcoming elections. Any citizen listening to those warnings would assume that our government is moving full speed ahead to protect our homeland.

But that is not the case here in the Republican-controlled Senate. The alarm bells that we've been hearing for months continue to fall on deaf ears here in the U.S. Senate. I hope that the 9/11 Report will finally push the Republican leaders to bring up the Homeland Security Appropriations bill – and the other homeland security measures they've been sitting on.

If we are as threatened as the Administration says we are, then this Senate should be working overtime to pass homeland security legislation.

I do not understand how the Republicans can issue new terror warnings on one hand, but then not even take up the homeland security bill in the Congress that they control?

At best, terror warnings – coupled with lack of action – undermine the public's confidence. At worst, they leave us dangerously unprepared for a possible attack. Our country is still vulnerable in so many ways -- from our nuclear and chemical plants to our trains and airports.

I'm especially concerned about the potential for danger at America's sea ports. Our ports are critical economic engines. A terrorist attack – launched on or through our ports – would not only have a tragic human toll, but it would also bring a large part of our economy to a standstill.

We know our ports are not as secure as they need to be – but the White House has been far behind the curve in addressing these needs. The President’s budget request included less than 12 percent of what industry leaders – including the American Association of Ports Authorities – say we need to secure our port facilities. And the Administration is trying to push more and more of the security costs onto our local ports and communities.

As policy-makers, we need to do more to ensure the safety and security of the people who work at – and near – our ports, and every individual, family, and small business that depends on the safe flow of commerce. That means we need to create Secure Trade Lanes, provide the funding to physically secure our ports, and create a fully-integrated cargo security system. We have done good work this year at the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. But no matter how hard our committee works, it won't make a dime's worth of difference if the Republican leadership never brings our bill to the floor for a vote.

So today our message to the Senate leadership is clear: If you agree that homeland security is a national priority, and if you agree that we must protect ourselves in the wake of so many warnings – then you need to bring up the Homeland Security Appropriations bill and show the American people that you're serious about our security.

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission has spoken, and now we'll see if the Republican leaders are listening.